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Date [ 2013-07-22, 10:35 ]

Enter a world of magic and fantasy.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress) by Ramani Rathir = The film stars James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff.

Director Sam Raimi keeps away from that unbeatable The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that came out in1939. Instead he takes us to the world of Oz before Dorothy’s arrival. He goes on to present to us an anti-hero who is adept at swindiling but saves himself by channeling his talents to a greater good.Oscar Diggs, is introduced as a magician in a Kansas circus with the stage name of what else - but Oz. He dreams of becoming a great magician, but then suddenly he is thrown by a tornado into a country that is all magic. Stranger still, it carries his name – Oz. No surprise he is mistaken for the great wizard chosen by the heavens to defeat an evil witch. Now he has to prove that he is not just a a mere illusionist but a magician to be reckoned with.As the movie is set at the beginning of the 20th century, the new scientific discoveries emit and aura of magic. The cinema, fireworks and glue are all easily mistaken for elements of magic. These are what allows Oscar Digg to be the Great Magician and saviour of Oz..Being an adult, you may very well realize what is coming next. But this should not put a damper on the fast paced acting of James Franco as Oz and his trio of superb supporting actors - Williams, Weisz and Kunis as the three witches.

Oz the Great and Powerful
The 3D techniques are beautiful but the plot quite predictable in this prequel to the original Wizard of Oz.

Oz the Great and Powerful
Director: Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach BraffOscar Diggs, making a living as a magician in a Kansas circus under the name of Oz, dreams of becoming a great man… until a tornado throws him into a magical country that shares his name – Oz. It is a fantastical kingdom where he is mistaken for the great wizard chosen to defeat an evil witch. Oscar will have to prove that he is more than a mere illusionist...

Sam Raimi prefers not to directly challenge the unmatchable The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1939) by telling the story of the world of Oz before Dorothy’s arrival, and by focusing on the most well-known and famous wizard of the literary world. It is a classic story of redemption with an anti-hero swindler learning to put his talents at the service of a greater good.

The director makes good use of 3D (especially after the passage from black-and-white Kansas to the colorful Oz) and manage to reinvent a world that, as fantastical as it may be, is well known by most viewers.

The beautiful use of 3D is one of the best aspects of the film, as, despite the energetic performance of James Franco and a high quality supporting trio (Williams, Weisz and Kunis as the three witches), the plot is quite predictable. Oz, in fact, states his goal from the beginning: to become a great man rather than a good man. However, the people he meets along his adventure will repeatedly tell him that the greatness he wants to obtain (with his swindles) will not be enough to make him happy, as the most important thing is to believe (and most of all to make people believe) what is seemingly impossible.

That’s the movie -- nothing more. It doesn’t even bother to delve into the mythology that the adventure is based on; the people of Oz are confused about who is and is not good, and even the geography of this wonderful word seems to be overly simplified with the short distances between places removing the feeling of the quest.

It is probable that these details will be noticed more by adult viewers than by children, who will certainly enjoy the linear plot and Raimi’s objectively brilliant storytelling (which makes sure to leave a door open for a possible sequel).The movie manages to make the most of the age it describes -- the beginning of the 20th century -- when scientific discoveries (cinema, fireworks, a bit of glue) could easily be mistaken for magic. Thanks to these bits of “magic” the illusionist Oscar Diggs becomes the real “savior” of Oz.The theme of the movie: “Believe… it doesn’t matter if what you believe in is false”, conveys an ambiguity that the positive transformation of the main character does not resolve, especially in a world like ours where most people would rather believe in a well meant lie than risk their life for a real and reasonable cause.Problematic elements: some scenes may be upsetting for very young children. - See more at:



Concentrating on magical actions, the film forgets to beef up its characters. It does not make an effort to reveal that the residents of Oz are unable to judge who is good and who is not. The country of Oz too is shrunk as places and distance are covered very quickly.

That feeling of setting out on a grand adventure is not quite felt. From the time he lands in Oz, the wizard makes it known he prefers to be a GREAT man rather than a GOOD man. He is however told by the people he meets on his travels in Oz, that the quest for greatness will not bring him happiness.

Instead it should be to make people believe that the impossible can happen.Finally, whether you believe in magic or not, or that the Wizard of Oz really exists, the film can be thoroughly enjoyed for its superb 3D effects. Having the film in black and white when in Kansas and then switching to colour in Oz, gives an impression that real magic is about to begin.Oz the Great and Powerful awaits.

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